Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold

 As you know, our colleagues at EPA’s Water Security Division have put together a series of Incident Action Checklists.  Last month, we talked about two new additions for HABs and Cybersecurity.  This month, we’re taking a look back at one of the earlier published checklists.

Now that colder weather seems to have arrived across much of the country, it may be time to remind your water utilities that there’s also a checklist that deals with Extreme Cold and Winter Storms.  This checklist outlines possible winter cold impacts for a water system such as loss of power, pipe breaks, and source water impacts from road salt.  The document also puts appropriate response and recovery actions into a checklist format that communities should find useful.  Generally divided into segments of planning, coordination, communications, personnel, power and fuel, and service areas, the eight-page document is a handy quick reference for water and wastewater systems.  It also has a useful reference links list for more information.  Take a look at the checklist here.

 

 

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Two New Incident Action Checklists for the Water Sector

The EPA Water Security Division (WSD) published ten “rip & run” style checklists in January 2015 to facilitate water sector response immediately before, during and after an emergency. These concise Incident Action Checklists outline critical measures that drinking water and wastewater utilities can take to protect their system against various natural hazards.

WSD is excited to announce the publication of two new Incident Action Checklists:  Cybersecurity and Harmful Algal Blooms.  As with the 2015 versions, these new checklists include potential impacts to the water sector; actions to prepare for, respond to and recover from the specific incident; a contacts section that utilities can fill out with their own local information; and a resource section. With a concise structure and targeted focus, the Checklists offer utilities a unique resource focusing on response actions that should greatly increase the water sector’s resilience to cybersecurity and harmful algal bloom incidents.  Download the Checklists today at: https://www.epa.gov/waterutilityresponse/incident-action-checklists-water-utilities.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dawn Ison at ison.dawn@epa.gov or by phone at 513-569-7686.

 

November is Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Month

As we continue to strive to ensure that water systems are strengthened against manmade threats and natural disasters, our colleagues at EPA’s Water Security Division are showcasing three tools that every water system should be familiar with…and be using to full advantage!

  1. Public Health Surveillance Guidance:  https://www.epa.gov/waterqualitysurveillance/water-quality-surveillance-and-response-system-public-health-surveillance
  2. The Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT):  https://www.epa.gov/waterlabnetwork/access-water-contaminant-information-tool
  3. the Water Lab Alliance Toolkit:  https://www.epa.gov/waterlabnetwork/water-laboratory-alliance-tool-kit

 

 

EPA Drought Guide Now Includes Response Template

EPA’s Drought Guide, originally published in March of 2016, is an interactive tool designed to assist small- to medium-sized water utilities with responding to drought. The guide, which includes best practices and customizable worksheets, focuses on short-term emergency drought mitigation actions that also build long-term resilience to drought.

Based on feedback gathered from stakeholders, the Guide has been revised to include a new Drought Response Plan Template. This template offers a step-by-step approach to creating a response plan in a customizable, fillable format.

The expanded Guide continues to include an interactive drought case studies map, a multimedia GeoPlatform website documenting, in both video and written form, the unique stories of seven utilities across the country that have responded successfully to extreme drought conditions. Two new case studies are in the works and should be viewable by the end of the year.

You may download the updated Drought Response and Recovery Guide and Template at: www.epa.gov/waterutilityresponse/drought-response-and-recovery-for-water-utilities

Questions? Please contact EPA’s Dawn Ison at 513-569-7686 or by email at ison.dawn@epa.gov

 

EPA WSD Offers Several Trainings & Webinars

Our colleagues in EPA’s Water Security Division want to make sure that you know about upcoming training and webinar opportunities.  Please read below for a variety of offerings:

WLA Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template Training – October 24, 2017 at 11:00 AM ET

It is imperative that laboratories be able to continue their essential functions when incidents occur that disrupt normal operations. This webinar is designed as an introduction to the Water Laboratory Alliance COOP template, providing a basic overview of the COOP template contents and a demonstration on how to use the template’s fillable form. Register for the training at https://us-epa-wla-coop.eventbrite.com

SRS Capabilities Assessment Tool Webinar – October 26, 2017 at 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will provide a first look at a test version of the Water Quality Surveillance and Response System (SRS) Capabilities Assessment Tool. This tool presents drinking water utilities with questions to assess their current surveillance and response capabilities, provides recommendations for how they can improve those capabilities, and identifies resources they can use to implement each recommendation. In addition to demonstrating how the tool functions, EPA will be soliciting stakeholder input and inviting stakeholders to participate in a round of testing.  Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/demo-of-srs-capabilities-assessment-tool-tickets-38556887689?ref=enivtefor001&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=inviteformalv2&ref=enivtefor001&utm_term=attend

WCIT Training – October 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM ET

This training is designed to introduce and refresh users on the Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT), a secure on-line database with comprehensive information about chemical, biological and radiochemical contaminants of concern. The training will include step-by-step instructions for tool functions such as contaminant search, finding and accessing field and confirmatory methods and generating public information reports. Register for the training at https://usepa-wcit-training.eventbrite.com

Responding to a Water Contamination Event Webinars November 2, 8, and 15, 2017 @1:00 PM ET

The Water Security Division will conduct a series of one-hour webinars entitled “Responding to a Water Contamination Event.” The webinar series will inform drinking water and wastewater utilities of free tools and resources that can help prepare for, respond to, and recover from water contamination. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/responding-to-a-water-contamination-event-webinar-series-tickets-38156431915

 DPAS Webinar – November 9, 2017 at 1:00 PM ET

The Water Security Division is developing the Decontamination Preparedness and Assessment Strategy (DPAS) to assist water utilities in preparation for contamination incidents. This webinar will provide an overview of DPAS, which is an interactive PDF walking the user through the complexities of the three phases of remediation: characterization, decontamination, and clearance. Register at https://us-epa-dpas.eventbrite.com

 

EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program Update

Our colleagues at EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program have shared information on new and updated products and projects of interest to drinking water programs.  The focus is principally on treatment and distribution system protection and modeling as well as decontamination projects.

For example, the Updates contains articles and reports on the following:

  • A Software Framework for Assessing the Resilience of Drinking Water Systems to Disasters with an Example Earthquake Case Study
  • Water Security Toolkit User Manual: Version 1.3
  • Treatment of Perfluorinated Alkyl Substances in Wash Water Using Granular Activated Carbon and Mixed-Media

The full update is available at this link Product+Newsletter+Oct+2017.pdf

Responding to a Water Contamination Event – Webinar Series

Please join EPA’s Water Security Division in recognizing the importance of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure during Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month for a webinar series on free tools you can use to respond to a water contamination emergency at your utility.

 

The webinar series will focus on the following topics:

Preparing Your Water Utility for an Emergency

DATE:              November 2, 2017

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

 

Responding to a Contamination Incident

DATE:              November 8, 2017

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

 

Recovering from a Contamination Incident

 DATE:              November 15, 2017

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

 

TO REGISTER FOR ONE OR MORE EVENTS:  Click this link and select the dates to register for the appropriate event.

EPA Water Security Division – Two New Products

Designing Customer Complaint Surveillance for Water Quality Surveillance and Response Systems

This document provides guidance for using customer calls and existing utility complaint management systems for detecting possible drinking water contamination incidents. Customers throughout a utility’s distribution system can provide near real-time input regarding changes in the taste, odor, or appearance of drinking water. The document provides guidance on using customer feedback to monitor for changes in water quality. Specific guidance is provided for complaint collection, information management, alert investigation procedures, and communicating with customers. This document is expected to be published in early October and posted to: https://www.epa.gov/waterqualitysurveillance/customer-complaint-surveillance-resources

Designing Enhanced Security Monitoring for Water Quality Surveillance and Response Systems

This document provides guidance for enhancing security monitoring at distribution system facilities that are determined to be at risk of intentional contamination. The document covers equipment to delay and detect unauthorized entries using hardening and intrusion detection. It also provides guidance on site selection, physical security equipment, communications, information management, alert investigation procedures, and partnerships with law enforcement to respond to unauthorized intrusions. This document is expected to be published in late September and posted to: https://www.epa.gov/waterqualitysurveillance/enhanced-security-monitoring-resources

National Preparedness Month – Week 3

 

This week focuses on risk assessment.  Conduct a risk assessment to find out your vulnerabilities…Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool

Drinking water and wastewater utilities of all sizes can use VSAT to enhance their security and resiliency. Utilities can:

  • Identify the highest risks to mission-critical operations
  • Find the most cost-effective measures to reduce those risks

VSAT Version 6.0 complies with the water sector risk assessment standard and can offer liability protection under the Department of Homeland Security’s Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act program. EPA strongly encourages drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators to use VSAT 6.0 to conduct or update an all-hazards risk assessment.

For more information on water resilience, visit www.epa/gov/waterresilience

Resilience Planning for Small Systems

Our Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) partners are hosting a webinar titled Resilience:  Planning on Disaster and Preparing for Disruption.  How do you prevent or mitigate the duration of severity of water service interruptions – especially if you’re a small system?

DATE:              Wednesday, September 20

TIME:               2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7020594331405763586

This event will outline a basic framework for small water systems to use in in their resilience planning.  It will also offer various tools and resources to help get plan implementation off the ground.